Road To The Olympic Games

Gary Reed breaks Canadian 800-metre record

Canada's Gary Geed set a new Canadian 800-metre record Tuesday while finishing fourth in Monaco's Herculis Grand Prix athletics meet.
Gary Reed won the men's 800-metre race at the KBC Night of Athletics in Heusden, Belgium, on July 20 this year. ((Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press))
Canada’s Gary Reed set a new Canadian record in the 800 metres Tuesday while finishing fourth in Monaco’s Herculis Grand Prix athletics meet.

The 26-year-old from Kamloops, B.C., finished in one minute 43.68 seconds, beating his own record of 1:43.93, which he set two years ago in Rieti, Italy.

"I feel very good. The race tonight was awesome," he said. "I felt incredible. I am in the best shape of my life and I am going to stay focused. I want to get that gold medal in Beijing."

Reigning Olympic champion Yuriy Borzakovskiy of Russia won in a time of 1:42.79, the same time given to Yusuf Saad Kamel of Bahrain in second. Mbulaeni Mulaudzi of South Africa, the 2004 Olympic silver medallist, was third in 1:43.26.

"We went through the 400 metres in 49.7, I believe, and at 600 metres, the pace maker stepped off and I came to a standstill. It was almost a disaster … and those guys got away from me. But that's fine. I know what I am capable of," Reed said.

The field followed the pace setting of Kenya’s Sammy Tangui. In all, seven athletes beat the 1:45 mark, one of the fastest mass finishes ever.

"All those other races were prep for the Olympics, I kept trying to tell people that. As  you can see all the big boys are coming into their own," said Reed.

For the Canadian, it's further confirmation that his training is going according to plan, with his peak planned for Beijing. A week ago the 2007 IAAF World Championships silver medallist won a race in Heusden, Belgium, in 1:44.46. Then on Sunday in the Aviva London Grand Prix he fell 200 metres into his race and failed to finish.

He plans to return home to Victoria before heading to Singapore to join the Canadian Olympic team. Daniel Kipchirchir Komen and Shedrack Korir, neither of whom were named to the Kenyan Olympic team, finished first and second in the men’s 1,500.

Both Komen’s winning time of 3:31.49 and Korir’s time of 3:31.94 were season best performances. Korir was the 2007 IAAF World Championship bronze medallist.

Commonwealth Champion Nick Willis of New Zealand, a training partner of Canada's Nate Brannen, was third in 3:33.51. The pair resides and train in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Jamaica’s Brigitte Foster-Hilton won a quick women’s 100-metre hurdles race in 12.49 from Sally McLellan of Australia (12.53) and reigning Olympic champion Joanna Hayes of the U.S., third in 12.67.

It was the Jamaican’s fastest time in two years and moves her into the top three ranked hurdlers.  A year ago she was the world championship bronze medallist behind Michelle Perry and Canada’s Perdita Felicien.

In the women’s long jump, Naide Gomes of Portugal leaped a world leading 7.12 metres to beat  U.S. Olympic trials winner Brittney Reese, at 6.76 metres, and  Russia’s Lyudmila Kolchanova, who recorded 6.68 metres. The Russian is the only other athlete to beat seven metres this year with 7.04 metres.